This Is The Ideal Temperature For Perfectly Cooked Pork

Pork is a beloved dish for its versatility. There are just so many delicious cuts of meat available on a pig. From rich bacon and ham to the classic pork chop and mouthwatering pork loin, there are plenty of great options to choose from when it comes to pork. One of the most common problems for home cooks is that their pork seems to easily dry out. According to Taste of Home, that might be because the pork is overcooked. The source says that overcooking pork can take out a lot of the moisture and ruin the flavor of the meat.

It's vital to get meats and fish up to a safe internal temperature so that bacteria are killed off, but overdoing it will leave you with a dry, stiff, flavorless puck. No matter how good the quality of your meat is, overcooking it will ruin it. It's the same reason why ordering a steak well done is considered such a travesty

Pork only needs to be cooked to 145

For many years, the ideal temperature recommended for pork was a minimum of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. This was done to ensure that dangerous bacteria, like those that cause trichinosis, were killed during cooking (via Mayo Clinic). Though, Bon Appétit has noted that there haven't been prevalent cases of trichinosis in decades. University of Illinois' animal sciences department meat specialist Anna Dilger says the bacteria that cause it was common in the 20s and 30s but poses nowhere near the same threat today. Taste of Home notes that even the USDA has updated its cooking recommendations to this lower temperature.

They also cite a recent study that shows evidence for improved flavor. A University of Illinois study presented participants with cuts of pork cooked at 145 degrees and 160 degrees and found that participants consistently preferred the pork cooked at a lower temperature. Even when higher grade cuts of pork were used, the meat cooked to 145 degrees most often came out on top.

So, if you've been scared away from cooking pork because of a bad experience in your past, it's time to get back on the horse — or pig in this case. If you don't already have one, get a meat thermometer, and bring the center of your pork to 145 degrees Fahrenheit before letting it rest for 10-20 minutes to achieve the juiciest texture and flavor (via Taste of Home).